LOCAL NEWS

Hill airmen return from six-month deployment, the first for the F-35As

May 5, 2018, 11:22 PM | Updated: 11:25 pm

LAYTON, Utah – Airmen from the 388th Fighter Wing and 419th Fighter Wing came home Saturday after a six-month deployment to Kadena Air Base in Japan. It was the U.S. Air Force’s first long-term, overseas deployment of the F-35A fighter jet.

Saturday afternoon, a chartered jet landed at Hill Air Force Base, carrying many of the airmen who were on the deployment. Over the next few days, around 300 airmen from Hill will return home.

“As we stand back and let them reunite with their families, to see those hugs and to see those tears, that’s going to be really exciting,” said Colonel Lee Kloos, commander of the 388th Fighter Wing.

“It’s a sacrifice on both sides. It’s a sacrifice to deploy and it’s a sacrifice for the families back home. You’ll see the smiles and the hugs. It’s a huge deal,” said Colonel Gina Sabric, commander of the 419th Fighter Wing.

Becky Gale was among the crowd of family members waiting to welcome the airmen back. Her husband is Tech Sergeant Andrew Gale. She said they were able to stay in close communication while he was gone.

“We’re so lucky to have technology. We have internet. We get to talk to daddy every day and we do little videos back and forth,” she said.

As a steady stream of airmen walked down the stairs from the jet, children ran to greet them. As Gale made his way through the crowd to his family, he talked about the first thing he wanted to experience back home.

“All the hugs! All that I can get! All that they’ll give,” he said.

Pilots flew more than 1,000 sorties during the deployment of the new fighter jet. F-35A personnel at Hill have played an important role in how the jet will operate in the Air Force.

“It’s exciting because we get to break the ground. We get to break the mold. We get to write the books about it,” Kloos said. “That’s the exciting part about coming here and we get to figure out how to do it and we get to teach the following base as the next operational wing. We get to teach them how to do it and they’re going to learn from what we’ve done,”

There are 35 F-35As assigned to Hill. By the end of 2019, Hill will be home to 78 of them.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

OREM, UT - FEBRUARY 21: A bump stock is installed on an AK-47 at Good Guys Gun and Range on Februar...
Associated Press

Supreme Court rejects bump stock ban cases, including advocate in Utah

The Supreme Court says it won't take up two cases that involved challenges to a ban enacted during the Trump administration on bump stocks. Those are the gun attachments that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like machine guns.
16 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Relieving some stress with Casey Scott at Smash-it Rage Rooms in Ogden

If you're looking to let out some rage in a safe and fun way, Casey Scott has the place.
16 hours ago
FILE PHOTO (KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Police investigating after reported sexual assault at U of U fraternity

University of Utah Police say they were notified of a reported sexual assault that occurred at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house.
16 hours ago
Non-profit workers preparing lunches for students....
Tamara Vaifanua

Local nonprofit provides lunches for Salt Lake County students

"We’re packing constantly," local nonprofit USANA Kids Eat is trying to fill the growing need for feeding students.
16 hours ago
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Glossy ibis fly over the Bear River Migratory Bird Ref...
Aimee Van Tatenhove, Utah Public Radio

Increasing Great Salt Lake salinity predicted to impact Utah brine shrimp

New research suggests that as Great Salt Lake shrinks and gets saltier, brine shrimp, a staple food for migrating birds and a boon to Utah’s economy, may be in danger of dramatic population declines.
16 hours ago
Follow @https://twitter.com/jellis9...
Josh Ellis

Severe thunderstorm, flash flood warnings issued for southern Utah

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Kane County along U.S. Highway 89 Monday morning, while a flash flood warning was in effect for Zion National Park to Rockville.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Hill airmen return from six-month deployment, the first for the F-35As